THE loss of more than 900 jobs at a shipyard in Portsmouth has
been condemned by the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd Christopher
Foster, who described the decision as "shocking".
Bishop Foster said that few would understand why BAE Systems,
which owns the yard, and the Ministry of Defence, had decided to
end shipbuilding altogether in the city.
"The decision of BAE and the Government will not be understood
by most of us," he said, "and does no justice to the commitment of
this city and area to our island and naval safety for generations.
This is serious and shocking news for Portsmouth and the
surrounding area - most of all for those whose jobs are now
directly at risk and their families, but also for the whole
community and local economy."
The Government announced last month that, although repairs and
maintenance would continue in Portsmouth, 940 jobs would be lost
from 2014, as there would be no more vessels to build. Some 835
jobs will also be cut at BAE Systems' Govan and Scotstoun shipyards
The firm said it had to make the cuts because of a significant
drop in demand for shipbuilding. The Defence Secretary, Philip
Hammond, told the House of Commons that the job-losses were
regrettable yet inevitable, but that the Government would invest
£100 million in Portsmouth to expand its naval dockyard to prepare
to house new aircraft carriers later this decade.